Dedicated Representation from an Experienced Atlanta Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Our Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer knows from experience that mistakes happen and that can change our clients’ lives forever. When you are sick or injured, you naturally turn to your doctor, hospital, or local clinic for help. You trust that your doctor has the knowledge and skill to take the proper steps to diagnose your condition and identify appropriate treatment. You also trust that the medical staff in your doctor’s office, clinic, or hospital will appropriately follow physician instructions and monitor patients.
Sadly, on the occasions when physicians and other healthcare workers violate this trust — and jeopardize patients’ lives and health — they make mistakes that simply shouldn’t happen. That’s medical negligence, and it can be devastating to the victims and their families.
Medical Malpractice Statistics
According to a 2011 report prepared by the American Association For Justice called Medical Negligence: The Role Of America’s Civil Justice System In Protecting Patients’ Rights, thousands of people die each year from preventable medical errors. In fact, fatalities from those errors would rank sixth among the country’s leading causes of death if they were included with other categories such as heart disease, cancer, accidents and diabetes.
A leading healthcare quality company studied 37 million hospital patient records from 2000 to 2002 before concluding that an average of 195,000 people die in the United States annually due to preventable in-hospital medical errors. That doesn’t include hospital patients who are seriously hurt by medical negligence but don’t die, or the patients who suffer from medical malpractice outside the hospital setting.
Mistakes Our Atlanta Medical Malpractice Attorney Sees
Medical malpractice includes everything from the very basic, obvious mistakes (such as a surgeon who operates on the wrong part of a patient’s body) to mistakes that are only identified through a careful, thorough and detailed examination of the entire medical record.
At James M. Poe, P.C., our Atlanta medical malpractice lawyers recognize from experience that medical malpractice often falls into one of several broad categories:
Errors In Diagnosis
Some very serious medical conditions can be negligently misdiagnosed, and delay can have serious consequences. These include cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and embolisms. Common errors in diagnosis include:
- Missed Diagnosis – This happens when a doctor negligently concludes that a sick or injured patient does not have a condition that needs treatment, leaving the patient without necessary medical care. The patient’s condition can deteriorate, requiring more treatment than would otherwise have been necessary. In some cases, a patient can die because of a negligently missed diagnosis.
- Incorrect Diagnosis – Sometimes a doctor negligently concludes that a patient has a particular disease, illness, or injury, when the patient is actually suffering from some other condition. The wrong treatment can be given producing additional complications on top of dangerous delay.
- Delayed Diagnosis – Sometimes a condition is correctly identified, but only after the doctor has taken too long to make a diagnosis. Negligent delay can turn a serious condition into a fatal condition. Sometimes there is only a small window of opportunity to intervene, and a negligent failure to use that window can be the basis for a lawsuit.
- Failure To Diagnose Additional Conditions Or Complications – Sometimes patients suffer from more than a single illness, disease, injury, or related complications. If a physician diagnoses only part of the patient’s condition, then the patient’s other problems may go untreated
Emergency Room Errors
Medication or Pharmacy Errors
Mistakes can and do happen in medical settings, whether physicians or other hospital staff make them. If you or someone you love has been injured by such a mistake, you need a seasoned medical malpractice lawyer on your side to ensure you get the justice you deserve.
Medical Malpractice FAQs
Medical malpractice lawsuits seek compensation for injured patients or wrongful death claimants when injury or death was caused by medical care that did not meet the applicable standard of care.
Below are frequently asked questions that we receive about medical malpractice cases. If we can answer questions about your potential medical malpractice lawsuit, please contact us to arrange for a consultation about your case.
If I file a medical malpractice lawsuit, will I have to go to court and relive my experience?
Some claims are settled outside of court, but it is very difficult to predict which cases will have that distinction. You should never assume yours is a case which will settle prior to trial
If your case goes to court, the father-and-son legal team of James M. Poe, P.C., will be fully prepared to stand up for your rights. We will also explain what you can expect to occur at trial.
Please see Our Results for examples of cases we have handled for medical malpractice victims and clients who have been harmed in other medical negligence cases throughout Georgia. Many defendants insist on confidentiality in settlement agreements as a condition of settlement, so we are unable to provide a full list of our prior cases.
Are there limits on what can be recovered in a Georgia medical malpractice lawsuit?
Medical expenses and income loss payments would include past, current and future expenses and losses. Some medical malpractice injuries leave patients with ongoing medical needs and the inability to work for a living. In cases of birth injuries or harm to other young patients, this can be a very substantial amount. A client’s long-term needs may be detailed in a life care plan prepared by qualified experts.
Why are experts needed for my medical malpractice claim?
At James M. Poe, P.C., we consult with experts who can analyze your medical records and advise us as to whether the standard of care you received met or fell short of what should have been provided.
Under Georgia law, before a medical malpractice lawsuit may proceed, the plaintiff must file an affidavit from a qualified medical expert identifying at least one particular act of negligence which proximately caused injury to the plaintiff.
If a medical malpractice case goes to court, medical consultants must testify as experts about the breach of the standard of care and the injuries caused by the breach.
How much time will I have to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Georgia?
The statute of limitations does not run from the date an injured person first learns or suspects that malpractice occurred. Georgia courts specifically reject the “discovery” rule followed in some other states.
In most cases, you must file a medical malpractice claim in Georgia within two years of the date of the injury you have suffered because of allegedly negligent medical care. The safest computation is to assume that the injury started to occur on the day the negligence occurred. If your case is about a retained surgical instrument – for example, a surgical sponge improperly left in the body – the deadline is one year from the discovery of the retained object.
Georgia also has a five-year statute of repose which requires that, in any event, a medical malpractice lawsuit in Georgia must be filed within five years of the negligent act giving rising to the claim.
The timing rules are very complex and require detailed analysis by an experienced medical negligence attorney. The only safe course is to consult very promptly with experienced counsel to determine which deadlines apply in your circumstances.
In addition to the statute of limitations, you must allow time to develop a lawsuit. Medical malpractice claims are complex. They require establishing facts of medicine and law. This requires gathering volumes of medical records connected to your case and having them reviewed by your lawyers as well as by medical experts who are hired as consultants. Georgia also requires an affidavit from an expert as part of the initial complaint, and that requires time for the expert to read and review the medical records. To accomplish that, most attorneys will need to start 90-to-120 days before any filing deadline.
Because of the complexity of our rules and the difficulty of obtaining records, we suggest that you contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to see if the necessary work can be accomplished before any applicable deadlines.
What will it cost me to see whether I have a legitimate medical malpractice claim?
If, after a careful assessment of the records and consultation with appropriate board-certified experts, we conclude there is a strong, valid claim for medical negligence, we will pursue a lawsuit for you on a contingency fee basis.
Our final fee will be a set percentage of the settlement or court award we obtain for you. The details of our contract will be set forth in our written agreement to represent you.
To learn more about our fee arrangements, please contact us today.
The investigation of a potential medical malpractice case involves acquiring all of the records involved with the patient’s care and having them analyzed by one or more medical professionals.
In Georgia, a medical expert who regularly performs the same procedure involved in your case must sign an affidavit that the expert has identified at least one act of negligence that he or she believes was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injury.
Due to the volume and technical nature of the evidence involved in a medical malpractice claim, these are lengthy and often difficult cases. It is important for a personal injury attorney to begin work on the investigation required of a medical malpractice case as soon as possible.
Damages in Medical Malpractice Actions
Georgians who suffer injury because of a healthcare provider’s negligence can recover damages, including:
Compensatory damages are damages intended to compensate you for the negative consequences of your injury, both economic and non-economic. They can include special damages and general damages.
Special damages repay financial losses such as:
- Past, present and future medical expenses.
- Past, present and future lost wages and earnings.
- Past, present and future disability
General damages cover non-financial losses such as
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Mental pain and suffering, including emotional distress, shock, fright, and humiliation.
Punitive damages are amounts that a jury may award, in appropriate cases, to punish, penalize or deter a defendant from behaving in the same way in the future.
Atlanta Medical Malpractice Lawyer Ready to Help You Recover
Atlanta trial attorneys Jim and Matt Poe understand the confusion and anxiety that result after a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider makes a serious medical mistake. Patients suffer delayed recoveries, complications, and can have permanent disabilities. In the worst cases, medical errors result in the deaths of patients who could have been cured with proper medical care.
Trust in Our Experience and Expertise
If you’re concerned that you or a family member have been hurt by a preventable medical error which you believe may be medical malpractice, it’s important to talk with a skilled and trusted Atlanta medical malpractice attorney.
At the law firm of James M. Poe, P.C., we have the experience, knowledge, and resources to fight for your rights as a medical malpractice victim. We offer the energy and the passion necessary to get results for seriously injured medical malpractice victims and their families, all with the individual attention and other benefits of a small firm that’s highly responsive to each client’s needs. Just call us or use our convenient online contact form.